Summer 2022 was the second hottest May on record in Texas dating back to 1895.

Still, artist Kristen Soble spent hours in the heat painting the Lighthouse For the Blind of Fort Worth’s tactile mural for the visually impaired — a project dedicated to providing art to a population who is often ignored in the industry.

“It’s a message to our community that art is for everyone and that together we can create new ways to include and celebrate those around us,” Soble said. “They are all unique, strong and capable of anything.”

At the warehouse, 912 W. Broadway Ave., the 2,000-foot mural, which took months to complete from day one of painting in late April of 2022, features six audio components, braille rails and sports the motto: “Where Independence Begins.”

“It’s a beacon that calls out to those that pass by with its bold, contrasting colors and audience devices to come and experience and interact,” Soble said. “It is meant to be a message to the visually impaired, an affirmation of strength and support.”

With help from donors and organizations like Near Southside Inc., the mural was funded and came to fruition after years of planning.

“This started with sort of a conversation a long time ago with Near Southside when this building was six different colors. We decided to get rid of the six different colors and paint it one color. Then, it was sort of monochrome,” said Plat Allen III, the CEO of Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth. “Then we asked, ‘Can we do something else?’”

That conversation between Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth and Near Southside Inc. began the talks of how organizations can beautify Vickery Village, Near Southside Inc. Director of Events and Communications Megan Henderson said.

Now, the “Where Independence Begins” mural stands tall and vibrantly outside of the Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth warehouse.

“We are typically told to not touch the art,” Soble said. “For me, this was the perfect opportunity to say, ‘My murals are meant to be touched.’”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Avatar photo

Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.